Central Falls, Rhode Island
City of Central Falls
"A City With A Bright Future"
|Incorporated||February 25, 1895|
|• Mayor||Maria Rivera|
|• Total||1.27 sq mi (3.30 km2)|
|• Land||1.19 sq mi (3.09 km2)|
|• Water||0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)|
|Elevation||89 ft (27 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||16,388.61/sq mi (6,327.68/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||1218931|
Central Falls is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 22,583 at the 2020 census. With an area of only 1.29 square miles (3.3 km2), it is the smallest and most densely populated city in the smallest state, and the 27th most densely populated incorporated place in the United States. It is also one of only four incorporated places in New England that have a higher population density than the city of Boston (ranking fourth, behind the Massachusetts cities of Somerville, Chelsea and Cambridge, all inner suburbs of Boston). The city takes its name from a waterfall on the Blackstone River.
Central Falls has historic significance as being the site of a major battle during King Philip's War. It was here on March 26, 1676, that Narragansett Indians ambushed Captain Michael Pierce and his Plymouth Colony troops who (with 20 Christian Wampanoag Indians) were pursuing them. Nearly all those ambushed were killed, including nine taken prisoner and later tortured to death at nearby Cumberland, Rhode Island. A stone memorial marks the mass grave at the site known as "Nine Men's Misery".
In the 18th century, Captain Stephen Jenks built a trip hammer and blacksmith shop along the Blackstone River, forming the nucleus of what would eventually become Central Falls. Other manufacturers, including a chocolate maker, set up shop in the building, and the new village became known as Chocolateville.
In 1824, Stephen Jenks suggested the name Central Falls, thus giving the village its permanent name. Central Falls was incorporated as a town in 1730.
Originally, Central Falls was one of the many villages within the town of Smithfield, but in 1871, having experienced a growth spurt, it split into three smaller towns: Smithfield, North Smithfield and Lincoln. Central Falls then became part of the town of Lincoln. Lincoln experienced its own growth spurt, so in 1895 Lincoln split into two towns, giving birth to the city of Central Falls.
While Quakers made up the majority of the first European settlers in the area, they were soon followed by a diverse mix of immigrants from Ireland, Scotland and French Canada. By the 20th century, Central Falls had experienced its own population explosion and for a while was the most densely populated city in the United States. In recent decades, a large number of Hispanic immigrants have found a home in Central Falls. Central Falls has always been an extremely diverse city, so much so that when the city celebrated its 100th anniversary with a parade in 1995, more than 100 countries were represented.
Central Falls is located at (41.889863, -71.392606).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2), of which 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (6.20%) is water. It is drained by the Blackstone River.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,928 people, 6,696 households, and 4,359 families residing in the city. The population density was 15,652.0 people per square mile (6,039.8/km2). There were 7,270 housing units at an average density of 6,011.7 per square mile (2,319.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 57.16% White, 5.82% African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.68% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 28.35% from other races, and 7.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 47.77% of the population.
There were 6,696 households, out of which 38.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 21.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.38.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 29.2% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 15.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,628, and the median income for a family was $26,844. Males had a median income of $23,854 versus $18,544 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,825. About 25.9% of families and 29.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.8% of those under age 18 and 29.3% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Central Falls was the only majority-minority municipality in Rhode Island with 60.31 percent of its residents identifying as Hispanic/Latino with Puerto Ricans, Guatemalans, and Colombians making up the largest share among the ethnicity.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, Central Falls had a median household income of $28,901 during the 2012-2016 estimates, making it the poorest municipality in Rhode Island.
In February 2010, the entire faculty and administrative staff of Central Falls High School was fired after the teachers' union refused to accept one of the "No Child Left Behind" options for restructuring failing schools. In accordance with NCLB legislation, schools deemed failing have four options to follow for restructuring. The teachers' union refused to accept to work 25 minutes of extra time under the "transforming model", so the superintendent proceeded and chose the "turnaround model", which requires a district to fire the entire staff (teachers and administrators). They may rehire up to 50% of the teachers for the beginning of the next school year. The school has a graduation rate of around 50%, and 7% of 11th-graders were proficient in mathematics in 2009. This school had been identified as one of the worst in the state. The teachers union sued the school district, challenging the requirement that teachers must reapply for their jobs. The Obama administration sided with the school board. In May 2010, the teachers were rehired when they agreed to work the extra time required.
There has been at least one Catholic school present in Central Falls since 1895. By 1908, there were three: St. Matthew's, Holy Trinity, and Notre Dame. In 1995, these three schools were combined to create St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy, which is located in the building originally serving St. Matthew's. Currently, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy is the only non-public school in Central Falls.
In the Rhode Island Senate, Central Falls is included in the 16th District and is currently represented by Democrat Jonathan Acosta. At the federal level, Central Falls is a part of Rhode Island's 1st congressional district, represented by Democrat David N. Cicilline.
Like most other majority-minority urban municipalities, Central Falls is overwhelmingly Democratic in presidential elections. No Republican has come remotely close to winning the city in over three decades, during which time voters have consistently backed Democratic nominees with lopsided majorities.
The city is governed by a Mayor-Council type government led by Mayor Maria Rivera. The City Council consists of five wards and is represented by Jonathan Acosta, Robert Ferri, Hugo Figueroa, Franklin Solano, and Jessica Vega.
|2020||26.05% 1,113||71.93% 3,073||2.02% 86|
|2016||15.51% 657||80.12% 3,394||4.37% 185|
|2012||12.89% 512||85.87% 3,410||1.23% 49|
|2008||16.97% 661||81.95% 3,191||1.08% 42|
|2004||23.05% 807||75.61% 2,647||1.34% 47|
|2000||17.57% 611||79.07% 2,750||3.36% 117|
|1996||13.68% 486||76.75% 2,727||9.57% 340|
|1992||23.39% 955||55.57% 2,269||21.04% 859|
|1988||33.36% 1,493||66.24% 2,964||0.40% 18|
On April 25, 2010, the Providence Journal Bulletin ran an article detailing rampant fraud and corruption by Mayor Charles D. Moreau, outlining no-bid contracts and kickbacks from a high school friend, who was granted almost $2 million in overpriced property boarding fees. The article further states that the same friend gave him a $6,875 furnace for his own home for only $6,000, which Moreau said he paid 'in cash'. The friend in question, Michael G. Bouthillette, was a campaign contributor to Moreau's multiple re-election campaigns. These allegations and others are currently being investigated by the Rhode Island State Police.
Financial straits of the city government of Central Falls have worsened in the 2000s as the state cut money to cities and towns, and pensions and pensioner health insurance for city employees accumulated to the extent that the city government declared insolvency in May 2010 and went into receivership. On August 1, 2011 Central Falls filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 9, Title 11 of the United States Code. It made the filing as it grappled with an $80 million unfunded pension and retiree health benefit liability that is over five times its annual budget of $17 million.[needs update]
National historic places in Central Falls
- Central Falls Congregational Church
- Central Falls Mill Historic District
- Central Street School
- Samuel B. Conant House
- David G. Fales House
- Benjamin F. Greene House
- Holy Trinity Church
- Jenks Park & Cogswell Tower
- South Central Falls Historic District
- St. Joseph Church
- St. Matthew Church (now Holy Spirit Parish)
- Valley Falls Mill
- Valley Falls Mill, Office and Bath House
- Lincoln Carter Almond, 72nd Governor of Rhode Island; grew up in Central Falls
- Michael Breault, game designer, editor and author; born in Central Falls
- Malcolm Greene Chace, financier, head of Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates; born in Central Falls
- Francis Condon, US congressman representing Rhode Island's 1st congressional district; born in Central Falls
- Viola Davis, Academy Award-winning actress; grew up in Central Falls
- Carl Russell Fish, historian and professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; born in Central Falls
- Roland Hemond, executive for several Major League Baseball teams; born in Central Falls
- Jack McGee, aviation pioneer; born in Central Falls
- Glyn O'Malley, playwright; grew up in Central Falls
- Charles Risk, US congressman representing Rhode Island's 1st congressional district; born in Central Falls
- John Robitaille, US Army captain; unsuccessful politician Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate (2010); born in Central Falls
- Max Surkont, baseball player, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox and Boston Braves; born in Central Falls
- "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Tucker, Eric (2010-05-20). "R.I. court names receiver for struggling Central Falls". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
- "Central Falls, Rhode Island Chapter 9 Voluntary Petition" (PDF). PacerMonitor. PacerMonitor. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- "Central Falls, Rhode Island Files Chapter 9 Petition". Chapter11Cases.com. 2011-08-01. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
- "History - City of Central Falls". www.centralfallsri.us. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- "American FactFinder - Results". Archived from the original on 2016-07-29. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
- "Rhode Island City & Town Income".
- The Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/24/AR2010022402092.html. Missing or empty
- "RI teachers union sues after mass firings". Fox News. April 28, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
- Tucker, Eric (May 18, 2010). "Fired teachers OK deal to get jobs back". Newspaper Archive. Heritage Microfilm, Inc. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
- "ePodunk". www.epodunk.com. Archived from the original on 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
- "Elected Officials". City of Central Falls. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
- "Rhode Island Board of Elections: Previous Election Results". Archived from the original on 2018-08-14. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
- Stanton, Mike; Malinowski, W. Zachary (25 April 2010). "Boarding up Central Falls: Mayor Awards Lucrative Work to Friend". Providence Journal Bulletin. Archived from the original on 27 April 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- "providencejournal.com: Local & World News, Sports & Entertainment in Providence, RI". providencejournal.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Central Falls, Rhode Island.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Central Falls, Rhode Island.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article "Central Falls".|